Linguists say they have made a "significant breakthrough" regarding the origin of Indo-European languages. The linguists traced the origins back more than 8,100 years. The researchers are from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Their study may settle a 200-year-old dispute over where the ancestor of English came from. One school of thought says English has its roots on the northern shore of the Black Sea. A competing theory is that English originated from Anatolia (present-day Turkey) 9,000 years ago.
Nearly half of the world's population speak Indo-European languages. The most commonly-spoken members of this family are English, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and Bengali. Each of these have over 100 million native speakers. More than 80 linguists created a databank of core vocabulary from 161 Indo-European languages. The study co-author said: "Ancient DNA and [evolutionary language analysis] combine to suggest that the resolution to the 200-year-old Indo-European enigma lies in a hybrid of the [Steppe and Anatolia] hypotheses."